Push are a non-profit outreach organisation founded in 1992 by Johnny Rich, and run by professional actors, comedians and writers. As a social enterprise, their mission is to support the more disadvantaged students to develop self-confidence, self-worth and employability skills to get what they want from life. Their irreverent team of creatives run high-energy interactive presentations and workshops for students and key influencers. They focus on 4 frameworks: careers & FE/HE choices, employability training, study skills and public speaking / comedy. They also run CPD sessions for staff and student ambassadors, to enhance teaching and staff-led CEIAG and careers education. Push have a National Careers Award for working with young people aged 14-19.

Push’s framework is based on up-to-date research into best practise, alongside our own employability research from Johnny Rich. The style of outreach is powerful: disrupting default pathways and prompting (through the creativity and energy of our presenters) high engagement in ‘future possible selves’ that stimulate proactive informed choices in young people. Push is effective as a standalone intervention (usually 1-3 hours) but is most effective when integrated into a wider programme of continuous and contiguous outreach where, for example, Push can be used to boost the effectiveness of mentoring or the active participation in, and efficacy of, wider integrated interventions such as HE presentations, employer events or open days. We love working with others and believe a blended drip-fed approach to outreach, is the most effective form for change in a student. Push are a great way for schools to meet their statutory duty on careers education, and they tick multiple Gatsby benchmarks.

Since the beginning of lockdown, Push began adapting the framework and delivery style to translate into fast-paced, fun and interactive online sessions for years 9-13s, as well as key influencers. The objective remains the same as the in-school sessions: to engage, inspire and inform young people on the benefits of choosing higher education routes and higher-level alternatives. The live online events promote the importance of staying calm right now and researching futures routes, whilst doing what you can to fuel your mental and physical health – to be ready for the new school year and sustain a positive attitude through the next academic year.

Push have trialled these online events – via Teams and Zoom – in a number of state and private schools, including for Uni Connect teams. The feedback from students, teachers and Uni Connect staff has been extremely positive. Push have adapted to make the most of virtual delivery, creating ‘mentally sticky’ live sessions (and pre-recorded events to serve as digital resources for online learning portals). These are not ‘fire up and forget’ interventions which tempt students’ eyes to another internet browser. Push ensure a follow-up package is sent within days (session summary, Q&A answers, session slides, links to wider Push blogs and advice videos). Push’s content lends itself well to being re-versioned in this way as the key components their research-based conceptual frameworks and the principles behind the delivery approach are consistent, regardless of the medium. Push will continue offering online sessions and in-school sessions, for the foreseeable future, to ensure flexible adaptable outreach.

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